Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You!

This post shows how we constructed the Bio Bike frame into our second performance model, Your Future Thanks You.

See the last couple of posts for first Bio Bike Model: The Eco T(h)anks.

This is the model we will be using for this weekend’s Sustainable Living Festival.  I can’t wait!

Click here to get the Festival Highlights Program.

Here’s the listing for our performance from the  Festival Program.

Sweet!!!

 

I am super happy we were forward-thinking enough to make the Bio Bike frame modular. And now that we have two different tops that we can interchange, it makes the Bio Bike frame so much more versatile.

Currently, we have two tops we can use for two different performances.

  1. The Eco T(h)anks and the Eco Protection Corps
  2. Your Future Thanks You

So, it has been all action stations to get the Bio Bike frame that we previously constructed as the based for the Eco T(h)anks into the Your Future Thanks You.

Construction started, of course, with our Bio Bike base…

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

Claire had done an amazing job bending the PVC piping to shape the pod shell.

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

We wanted the pod to look a little comical and dinky.

We both agreed that we didn’t want a fully polished piece, we liked the home-made-any-one-can-do-this feel. We also didn’t want to over-engineer, complicate or over-decorate the pod. The whole point was that it was grassroots and fun.

We also wanted people to be able to see that it was clearly made out of recycled materials and that it wasn’t ‘perfect’ – and didn’t need to be to be super fun!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

Claire had a previous artwork that we refashioned to be the back of the pod. The green section gave it a bit of colour and we decided to let it flop at the front because we liked the odd and unruly look of it – made you think that there is no way this thing could fly – which was perfect!

The pod shell was constructed out of recycled PET bottles attached together. I then lay it over the pod and zip tied it to the pod frame, while Claire was working on the wings.

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

Then, Hey Presto! The wings were ready.

Now, all we have to do is attach the propellers and put it on the bike!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

I’ll be riding this Bio Bike from Footscray into Federation Square – just as I did for our 2014 SLF roving performance, Leki & the Ova.

I LOVE doing this!

It is a great way for the bike structure to settle in, I get to see if there are any last minute adjustments needed, and it is great to go whizzing by the poor unsuspecting public and see their faces! Honk! Honk!

It makes me super happy to ride our art bikes to the festival site. It gets me in the happy, bikes-are-awesome mood and this awesomeness is carried over into when the performance starts as I am already primed for fun!

Unleash the beast!

Here is the final Bio Bike…

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

 

Here’s our listing on the event program below!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

See you all there!

Project Bio Bike & the Eco Protection Corps

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

Bicycles Create Change’s Eco T(h)ank Concept for the 2018 Sustainable Living Festival.

Project Bio Bike & the Eco Protection Corps

Next week, I will be down in Melbourne for the Sustainable Living Festival (SLF) – Big Weekend.

With two other collaborators, Claire Tracey and Sarah Cole, we are putting on an Bio Bike roving performance for Sat 10th and Sun 11th Feb.

Here’s a little more background and detail about the project.

Initial Concept

The original inspiration came from the old armed forces morale-boosting concerts – and the recognition medals for services, commendable action and extraordinary achievement. Our spin is to boost morale AND award our own Bio Medals (all of which I have personally made out of recycled bike parts, inner tubes, discarded jewellery and other found objects) but these are for services to community members for environmental and sustainability services and action.

Inspiration adaptation

We are the Eco Protection Corps (EPS).

There are three performers – a brunette (me), a blonde (Claire) and a redhead (Sarah) – so the first idea was that there was one person for each ‘armed’ corps – Army, Navy and Air Force.

Each performer would research and give out enviro and sustainability awards and recognition medals that correlated with their ‘Eco Force’.  For example:

  • ‘Army’ for land, soil and rubbish management, flora and fauna, housing, urban and contested spaces, biochar, erosion, gardens, composting, recycling, etc.
  • ‘Air Force’ for air quality, air emissions, atmosphere pollution, acid rain, storms and extreme weather events, climate change/ozone issues, birdlife, etc.
  • ‘Navy’ for water quality, water use and conservation, desalination, plastic ocean pollution, fish and sealife issues, Great Barrier Reef, coral bleaching, oil spills and waste water control, etc.

Project Summary

The Eco Protection Corps (EPC) is a bike-powered, environmentally themed performance taking place at the Sustainable Living Festival in Federation Square. Roving members of the Eco Corps will ride an Eco T(h)ank bike around the festival, handing out medals awarding excellence in environmentalism and sustainability.

The Eco T(h)ank bike and the medals of excellence are made
from predominantly up-cycled and recycled materials.

The aim of the project is to generate positive reinforcement around individual environmental action and to remind the public that ‘an army’ of sustainable frontliners is made up of many individuals creating positive change towards global sustainability.

This project aims to promote, encourage and recognise the thoughtful environmental action taken by local community members.

The Eco Corps Bio bike , or Eco T(h)ank, and performance is a reaffirming, fun and direct way to celebrate with the wider community and array of positive, creative and personal eco action.

It is our aim that this artwork will create interest,  discussion and education around the need for sustainable action and will explore creative and  innovative ways this can be achieved.

The Eco T(h)ank

The idea of the Eco T(h)ank is to use the well-known tank as a motif of the strength and force needed to address these environmental issues – and jell that with the community-based involvement for sustainability theme of the Festival.

The bike is instantly recognisable as a ‘Tank’- but most importantly, we are keen to promote the positivity and ‘green-ness’ of this project.

So we will have modifying the tank shell to be an Eco T(h)ank  – so it is clearly  distinguishable as a representation of the Environment (Eco) thanking (Thank) people who have progressed and ‘fought’ to protect the environment and progress sustainable practices.

Achievement Medals

The performance and distribution of ‘Environmental Excellence Medals’ represent the awarding of present achievements and services rendered, as well as involving the general public in the show and helping to build a sense of unity, pride and camaraderie for our precious community and environment.

Our performance is based on interacting with the general public and discussing sustainability issues with them (participation, education and promotion). During this, we will ask people what they have done to support sustainable living and use that as they basis to present an award to that person.

This way the awards are impromptu, individual and fun. Participants also get to keep a unique trinket from the Festival as a memento.

We hope that doing so will encourage even more positive sustainable practice – as well as discussion and recognition for small acts of environmental kindness that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

 

Project considerations

There are a few project considerations, but some of the key ones are:

  • budget
  • collaborating with 3 interstate performers (QLD, NSW & VIC)
  • emphasising the Eco not the militaristic intent/aesthetic
  • being respectful of armed forces personnel and possible issues
  • being sure the bike shell (Tank) can flat-pack down and be transported in a bike bag easily for flights
  • overall size and usability – getting on and off the bike
  • manoeuvring the T(h)ank around a crowd and limited space
  • avoiding damage and wear-and-tear to the T(h)ank during performance
  • storage for the Sat night
  • deciding who/when rides the bike and how the bike stands with/out people

Initial Conceptual plans for the EcoT(h)ank

Here are the three first concepts for the tank. The first idea was to have side wheels (too much space and too much work).

This morphed into having a side brace (part of this idea made it into the final design as the tank side panels).

The third idea was to have a turret and barrel where flowers can burst out of (so Banksy!). One idea for this was to mount only the barrel on the handle-bars so the barrel would swivel to point where ever the bike is pointed. But for safety and stability, this idea ended up being simplified so that the whole section was one piece mounted on the handlebars – the effect was the same, but was much less fiddling around.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

 

Once this general plan was decided,  attention turned to how to construct it so it could be flat-packed for quick and easy re/dissembled and so that the whole thing could fit into a bike bag for interstate transportation.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

 

After much deliberation and checking of materials and finance, here is an overall plan for the T(h)ank aesthetic, size and design.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

The last week has all been about making this structure and see what works and can be do during the construction of this plan.

See how it all turned out in the next post!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

Hey, bike nuts! Welcome back!

The last week has been super crazy getting ready, because…

A while back, my regular creative collaborator and friend Claire Tracey and I put together a roving performance idea and application for the upcoming 2018 Sustainable and Living Festival (SLF)- and we got the news it was successful!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

The Festival’s Program Coordinator Big Weekend emailed:

Thank you for your Festival application. We are pleased to inform you that your event application has been accepted!  The team at the Sustainable Living Festival are delighted to have your event as part of our program.

Woohoo!!

So, we are heading to Melbourne to perform the Bio Bike at the 2018 SLF!

Previous SLF adventures – Leki & the Ova

The phenomenal Claire Tracey and I have previously collaborated for the 2014 SLF, where we created the roving performance/art bike Leki & the Ova.

This project used Leki as the basis for a pedal-powered no-money/barter/trade/swap, mobile op shop. It was sooooo much fun!

Leki and the Ova will be very familiar to regular BCC readers, given it is immortalised as the central feature image for the Bicycles Create Change homepage.

We roved the Festival and went out twice a day. We had a brilliant time and were a roaring success – the punters loved being part of it … and so did we!

Projects - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

It was a wicked project to make and present – and Claire and I knew we worked well together and have since joined forces on a number of ventures.

So we threw our hat into the ring for this year with our concept of the Bio Bike … and hey presto! We’re in!

So, no time to waste – we have to get organised!

But first a bit of background.

What is the SLF Big Weekend?

In it’s own words, the Festival’s signature Big Weekend event will be staged between the 9th and 11th of February. Held in the cultural hub of Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, the Festival’s Big Weekend showcases the main attractions of the Festival’s calendar.

Featuring interactive workshops, talks, technology demonstrations, art, film and live performance pieces (of which our roving Bio Bike performance will feature! NG).

One of the main attractions of the Big Weekend is the Exhibitors Market featuring over 100 exhibitors, including vendors showcasing the very best of organic food, beer and wine. Ethically-sourced clothing, sustainable building designs and gardening options will also be on show.

Treadlie and Green Magazine will be back to host the always popular Treadlie Bike Hub, with bikes, accessories and even a test track to help you make the switch from horsepower to human-power.

Click here for a sneak peek at the SLF guide highlights.

Our Bio Bike Project Aim and Overview

As an arts collective, we aim to educate, encourage and empower participants to seriously think about their ability to affect positive environmental change.

Our event is focused on raising awareness about the necessity of transitioning to a ‘below zero emissions’ society and examines creative solutions to creating this widespread societal change as soon as possible.

The Bio Bikes roving performance uses positive reinforcement and humour to create public awareness about climate change and encourages viewers to participate in the performance by interacting with the sculptural bikes when they are stationary. 

Next steps…

So, it has been action stations to get the foundations organised and prepped for the Bio Bike. We already have a clear conceptual plan of what we want the performance to entail, but it is the props and bike itself that requires time, skills, materials and construction. With the Festival fast approaching, the making of the Bio Bike is a top priority.

So, I’ve been away for the last 5 days visiting a dear long-time friend, called Coolie, in northern NSW. (No internet there, hence the delay in uploading this post- sorry!). Coolie’s technical expertise, insight and fabrication workshop was invaluable in constructing a Bio Bike prototype which will be a major part of our roving performance.

The next couple of posts will be tracking our project development as we refine and work on the Bio Bike, props, costumes and production.

Stay tuned to see how it unfolds – and if you are in Melbourne, we’ll be seeing you at the Sustainable Living Festival in a couple of weeks!

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes

This guest blog post is by Greg Beach, who earlier this week reported on the official announcement of the World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Bicycle. Two months ago, DesignBoom reported on this design, however, it was not officially announced until this week that Pragma’s ALPHA hydrogen-powered bicycles have been manufactured and are set to become commercially available in the near future. It will be very interesting to see what impacts and reaction this new announcement will have on cycling communities and city bike share initiatives. NG.


World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes

Pragma Industries just became the first company to launch a hydrogen-powered bicycle for commercial and municipal purposes. Based in Biarritz, France, the company has already secured 60 orders for the hydrogen bikes from French municipalities such as Saint Lo, Cherbourg, Chambery and Bayonne.

While the bikes are currently too expensive for the commercial market, costs are expected to eventually drop from 7,500 euros to 5,000 euros, and charging stations cost about 30,000 euros.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

While Pragma is not the only company interested in hydrogen-powered bicycles, they have taken production of such vehicles the farthest — so far.

“Many others have made hydrogen bike prototypes, but we are the first to move to series production,” Pragma founder and chief executive Pierre Forte told Reuters.

Pragma’s Alpha bike is able to travel a distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) on a two-liter (0.5 gallon) tank of hydrogen.

Although the range is similar to that of a typical electric bike, the recharge time is significantly reduced from hours for a traditional e-bike to merely minutes for the Alpha hydrogen-powered bike.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

Pragma offers two types of recharging stations: one that uses hydrolysis of water to generate hydrogen fuel on-site, and another, more affordable station that relies on tanks of already prepared hydrogen fuel.

Due to the high cost, Pragma is currently marketing its bikes to larger commercial and municipal operations such as bike-rental operators, delivery companies, and municipal or corporate bicycle fleets.

After producing 100 such bikes last year, Pragma hopes to sell 150 this year to organizations in places such as Norway, the United States, Spain, Italy and Germany.

In addition to developing a bike that is capable of turning water into fuel without the need of a charging station, the company plans to massively expand into the retail market within the next few years.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

 


This news was reported world-wide through the major news outlets, so unsurprisingly, most of the reporting on this innovation appears to be based on the same publicity brief with articles repeating pretty much the same info. However, there were a few articles that supplied a little more detail about the bike, how it looks and it’s specifications (like this Reuters article).  

Images and original article published in Inhabitat 17/1/2018.

Vycle – Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th

 

There are some super creative professionals out there producing innovative solutions to urban issues using bicycles as the foundation for inspiration and design.

One example I have previously posted, is the incredible and now readily available Invisible Bike Helmet which is the brainchild of two Swedish Industrial Designers, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin.

Another is the Vycle, which was first designed by Elena Larriba.

Vycle is touted as being a human-powered vertical transport solution to address increasing urbanisation.

What is Vycle– Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower?

Elena Larriba is a qualified architect (MArch) and an Imperial College and the Royal College of Art (MSc & MA) alumni.

Her work is concerned with responding to increasing urbanisation and migration.

Most densely populated urban environments and cities utilise vertical spaces. Therefore innovate methods for vertical transportation are being investigated – and harnessing the functionality of cycling is Elena’s answer!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

Elena’s website explains that her design is inspired by bicycles, in that “Vycle is a system powered by continuous cyclical movement. Its benefits are twofold: firstly, it will give stakeholders a more efficient and sustainable option to ascend, and secondly, variable energy selection will be able to cater to people of varied ages and abilities, whilst creating a personalised experience”.

The two choices of moving about between building levels: elevators or stairs – and both have some serious drawbacks. Elevators require a lot of energy and encourage laziness, whereas stairs encourage physical activity, but that for some, this can be onerous or too strenuous.

In a nutshell, Elena believes “that stairs require a lot of effort for a person to go up whereas lifts are 100% powered and that this carves out an area of opportunity that sits between the two.”

Comparatively, using Vylce appears to alleviate these concerns by being compact and space efficient, easy to physically propel, as well as removing any reliance or use of precious energy and thus is incredibly environmentally sound – go bicycles!

Concept Development

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

The Vylce is currently only a working prototype. Further testing is required to take this product to market and comply with regulation level safety measures for implementation.

How does it work?

The Vycle team explain that this device operates by allowing “people to cycle up in an effortless and enjoyable way. The system is balanced with counterweights leaving the user body as the only weight to overcome. Using a gearing system similar to how bikes work, the user can decide how much effort they want to put to ascend or descent”.

You can see how Vcyle works in action in the video below.

Here is a possible future that Elena hopes to provide – pretty inspiring stuff!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

I love the visionary and inventive ways bicycles are being utilised, modified and adapted to help provide productive and resourceful solutions to growing social, environmental and technological issues.

I can’t wait to see more ways where bicycles are being used to create a more positive future for all.

Images and video courtesy of ycle.co.uk

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.
Image: Official Woodford Program Cover

Hey Bike nuts! This week I was at Woodford Folk Festival.

Woodford is Australia’s largest annual outdoor cultural and folk festival.

This year, there were over 2,500 amazing musical gigs, performances, shows, talks, demos, roving performances, gardens and activities.

It is a truely amazing experience to wander around Woodfordia.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival

Here is a copy of the full program – EPIC!!

There is also the Speakers Program, which has over 70 talks on a massive array of topics – including many current social, political and environmental issues.

It is difficult to tell you everything you can see and do at Woodford, so I’m just going to hit the bike high points and let you explore the full shebang for yourself another time if you are interested (highly recommended!).

On arrival – bike parking

It was great to see that at the entrance, the ‘Bike Parking’ was already filling up and that cyclists had a direct and preferential access to the front entrance – rockstar parking for bike riders!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Wozwaste

I was delighted to see Wozwaste was not wasting anything – and their market stall looked great! I am super impressed at how their product range has increased since I last saw them.

I popped in for a good chat and catch up. they are doing great work with recycling materials. While we were chatting, I asked a few technical questions about issues I was having working with bike inner tubes. They had had the same difficulties I was experiencing and so had decided to switch over to using motorbike inner tubes now as a result.

I really appreciate Wozwaste’s philosophy and commitment. It is inspiring to know people are out there whereby up/recycling is the basis of their business. It was great to see their range first hand and see what they have achieved so far.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Roving Performances

The Rain Cloud

The heat and sun was super hot, so the organisers arranged to have the rain cloud bike roving to help cool off punters.

This is four person, pedal-powered bike which ‘rained’ a fine mist over those who stood near the clouds.

It was a great way to cool off, the drizzle was a very welcome reprieve. When the bike stopped, people were encouraged to sit on the float to rest and cool off – the kids loved it!

There were seven operators, all in various costumes who took it in turns to ride and/ore entertain as needed.

A very effective and impressive roving performance!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

The Woodford Postal Service

This roving performance also served a legitimate service.

Within Woodfordia, there is the Post House, from which there is a team of Posties on bikes whose job it is to rider around, interacting with festival goers by ‘delivering letters’.

The idea is that you can stop a Postie (or they might ask you) to ‘send’ a message or letter to someone throughout the day/festival.  It can be any message you like and you give a description to the postie and their job is to deliver it – which makes for some hilarious interactions as some of the descriptions are quite vague, so there are many posties going up to people asking them if they are so and so in an attempt to deliver a message.

In an age of instant text messaging, this kind of audience participation activity was inventive, creative and so much fun to be part of.

Everyone was getting into it and the posties did a great job!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Out the front of ‘The Post House’

Festival-goers on wheels

Woodfordia has a great path network and the access is well thought out, so it was great to see a higher number of many festival visitors on wheels getting around.

There were a few wheel chairs, but far more hand-driven chairs and recumbents and a few scooters.

Most notably, there was a very popular trolley stall which hired out wagons for families to wheel their tired kids around. This a great idea for storage, sleeping kids, having some shade, reserving some space and being able to find your people at a distance – GOLD!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Image: Rock n Roller Wagons

Bike Refreshments Stall

Throughout the day, I kept seeing Jeremy and his gorgeous pedal-powered refreshments stall rinding around. I had to go up and chat to him. He is a genuinely beautiful man and was so happy to be out and about. His happiness was infectious. Great shoes and what a smile!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

Unknown Pink Bikers

These guys had a compound that was open at certain times and they were entertaining people with tricks, magic and activities.

Later on, I saw them riding around interacting with punters and generally adding to the overall cheer and colour.

Great to see more bikes getting around, but some of the older guys in glitter glam hot pink Barbarella-style costuming might have scared a few of the kids.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Opening Ceremony

I’m sure you will be able to get a hold of some footage of the official opening ceremony for the festival. There were massive puppets, fire work, a latern parade, an aboriginal welcoming ceremony and dancing, various singers to name a few.

Of most interest for this post was the use of bicycles during the later parade to help move the larger lantern around as needed – it was only when you looked closely could you see that bikes were instrumental in the latern below in particular.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Overall – a wonderful time!

Whether you are going for bikes or the music or the culture – Woodford has it all.

It was great to see so much wonderful music, vibrancy, creativity, colour, energy, care and community.

What a great was to end the year!

See you in 2018! Happy and safe riding all!

Bike-sharing fiascoes

This post come courtesy of Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Huddersfield.  This article is an extension to a previous bike sharing article he wrote last year. A lot has changed since then! Thanks for giving permission to share this article Alexandros!


Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Bike-sharing fiascoes

Bike-sharing schemes are a fast-growing transport trend, with almost 1,500 operating around the world today. To governments, they’re a novel tool to help ease the burden on public transport systems and reduce congestion in cities. To people, they’re an affordable and green way to get from A to B, without having to actually buy a bike.

Inspired by the principles of the “sharing economy”, bike-sharing schemes aim to make efficient use of resources by providing affordable, short-term access to bikes on an “as-needed” basis.

These schemes have been one of the most distinctive and user-friendly means of inspiring people to change their mode of travel, largely because they blend the sustainability of cycling with the speed and convenience of public transport.

But as striking photographs from China reveal, these bold principles don’t always play out in practice. To prevent thousands of bikes literally piling up in need of repair or retirement, cities and bike-sharing businesses need to swerve around a few obvious potholes.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

An uphill effort

Certain features can make cities hostile places for bike-sharing schemes; for example, overcomplicated planning procedures, strict cycling laws (such as compulsory helmet use) and political friction over giving up parking spaces to bike docks.

Inadequate infrastructure – such as limited bike lanes and unprotected cycle paths – together with traffic safety concerns, bad weather and hilly streets can also put off would-be cyclists. And if schemes suffer from poor promotion or sluggish expansion, the bikes can languish for lack of use.

Traditional bike-sharing schemes enable users to rent and return bikes at special hire stations, but they don’t provide a door-to-door service. So, for them to work, convenience is crucial. Schemes such as Seattle’s Pronto paid the price for having sparse and poorly placed docking stations, ceasing operations in 2017.

Over the last two years, Chinese bike-sharing start-ups such as Mobike and Ofo – funded by internet giants Alibaba and Tencent – have rushed to address this problem, by providing stationless smart bikes, which users can lock and unlock using a mobile app.

With lightning speed, hundreds of door-to-door bike-sharing schemes have spread across China, throughout other Asian countries and finally into Europe – the homeland of conventional public bicycle programmes. This new model has in theory the capacity to transform the world of cycle hire, just as Uber and Lyft have done for cabs.

Fatally flawed?

But amid the rush to embrace this new technology, there have already been a fair few fiascoes. China’s third-biggest bike-sharing company, Bluegogo, has run into financial trouble, despite having 20m users and £226m in deposits at its zenith. With so much competition in the market, there are too many bikes available at very low prices, with insufficient demand from consumers.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Of course, some of these mistakes are easily avoidable. Wukong Bicycle, a minor Chinese start-up which placed 1,200 bikes in the notoriously hilly Chinese city of Chongqing, went out of business after only six months in operation, with 90% of its bikes presumed missing or stolen. They made the fatal error of not installing GPS devices in their fleet.

Beijing-based bike-sharing firm 3Vbike also went bankrupt in June 2017, after losing more than 1,000 of its bikes in just four months. The scheme relied on location data from WeChat, rather than building its own app, making its tracking functions ineffective. Worse still, the owner had to purchase the bikes himself, for lack of other investors.

Manchester’s Mobike scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – is still going strong, despite facing teething issues during its first three months. Bikes were vandalised, dumped in canals and bins and stolen outright, leading the company’s spokesperson to suggest that the system has been “misundertood”. Bikes have since been taken in for repair, and will be redistributedacross a smaller area in the city centre. The oBike scheme in Australian cities faced similar problems.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Survival guide

So, even with the right technology, dockless schemes are prone to misuse. If this new model of bike-sharing scheme is going to survive, operators will need to take note of these pitfalls, and adapt to the specific needs of their cities. Here are a few measures which can help to ensure the success of a bike-sharing scheme:

  • Stationless bikes might work where traditional bike-sharing schemes have failed, provided there is enough demand for these services. But free-floating bikes must have GPS systems attached – not doing so is a recipe for failure.
  • Fair fares, flexible membership options and ease of access all help to make schemes more user-friendly. And each scheme should have its own purpose-built app – no substitute is good enough.
  • Protection mechanisms and penalties for vandalism and theft should be in place from day one, to help minimise misuse. Market and education campaigns can be used to promote bike-sharing culture, and encourage people to take a positive attitude towards these bikes.
  • Too much competition within a city is a problem – an oversaturated bike-sharing market can be a fatal trap, especially for smaller schemes. Once they’ve assessed the market, operators need to make a city-specific plan for methodical and incremental growth. Rushing things through will lead to disaster.
  • City authorities should enthusiastically support bike-sharing and invest in cycling infrastructure to help schemes succeed; having a champion for the scheme, such as London’s former mayor Boris Johnson, guarantees long-term viability.
  • Very aggressive expansion can doom even the strongest dockless bike-sharing initiatives. Bike-sharing might not be an extremely profitable investment, so it’s important to manage investors’ expectations.

Bike-sharing is still, in many ways, a revelation and a positive addition for many cities which are battling the ill effects of car use. But at the same time it should be realised that not every city is destined to become a paradise for cyclists.


This is most recent article on bike sharing. He has written two previous articles for The Conversation about the (then) burgeoning global bike sharing expansion phenomena (Feb 2016) as well as how cars are killing us and what we can do to wean ourselves off them (from Sept 215). This article and all  images was originally published earlier this week on The Conversation website and then on subsequently on SBS

Village Bicycle Project

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

Village Bicycle Project

Village Bicycle Project (VBP) is a completely volunteer-run organization that collects and sends second-hand bicycles to community partners only in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

VBP has been in operation since 1999 and has its base headquarters in Seattle, USA.

It was originally founded to provide transport options of Ghana’s rural residents and farmers and has since expanded on this aim.

VBP facilitates the on-the-ground distribution and sales of bicycles that are either sourced through direct donation or via collection drives undertaken by local partner organisations based in the USA, Canada and Europe, such as Bike Works (Seattle), Recycle-a-Bicycle (New York City) and Bikes not Bombs (Chicago).

Their motto is Affordable and sustainable transportation to Africa and Changing lives in Africa.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

The core philosophy framing all VBP policy and practice is not to give bicycles for free.

A clear statement on the VBP website explains the justification for this ideology as being threefold. They believe that supplying free bikes will flood the local market which undermines local bike enterprises and associated livelihoods, that free bikes do not remain in possession of those who need it most and that it devalues the bicycle as well as precipitates a reliance on aid.

Once the bikes are sourced, they undergo rigorous condition checks to ensure that only second-hand bikes of excellent quality are included, while the rest are stripped for parts.

When collection reaches distribution point, a 40” shipping container is filled with 450 bicycles and is shipped over to distribution partners in Africa.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

Each shipment is divided into three streams on arrival, 150 bikes are reserved for VBP one-day maintenance workshops, a quota is reserved for other partnership initiatives (such as supplying bicycles for rural teachers). The rest of the bicycles and extra parts are sold to local bike retailers to pay the $5000 cost of shipping the container to Africa.

VBP ships about 20 containers to Africa each year.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

As well as supplying bicycles, tools and spare parts, VBP provides access to mechanics for assistance and runs a number of programs. Programs include bicycles with maintenance workshops, learn to ride, bicycle mechanic training and bicycle collection and distribution.

The one-day maintenance workshop is free for anyone who has purchased one of their bikes. This course shows new owners how change flat tires, check gears and brakes and provides advice to increase biking confidence and safe riding practices.

 

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

Girls-only riding and bicycle programs

VBP specifically targets women and girls for inclusion to help begin to address the gender inequalities that limit accesses to bicycles (VBP, 2015).

The VBP website states that as of 2017, they achieved: 106,000 bikes supplied to Ghana and Sierra Leone, 3500 girls and women have learnt to ride a bike through one of their programs; 18,000 people have been trained in bike repairs; and 60,00 tools have been distributed to support the increase of bicycles in communities (VBP, 2016).

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

In 2014 with the help of Clara Matthews, VBP launched their girls’ only after-school month long ‘learn to ride’ classes in Lunsa, Sierra Leone. These classes were held in community parks to capitalise on being open air, friendly and socially inclusive programs within the community and were used to try to improve community acceptance of more girls riding bicycles.

VBP features in Laurens Hof’s (2016) Master’s Thesis entitled Teaching girls how to ride a bicycle: gender and cycling in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, and as a case study in Jack Furness One less car: Bicycling and the politics of automobility, but has so far not been included in any empirical academic publications beyond being mentioned in passing.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

All images from Village Bicycle Project.

Kurilpa Derby

Last weekend was the 10th anniversary of the Kurilpa Derby in Brisbane.

It is a fantastic annual community celebration of life on wheels.

The Kurilpa Derby is a major social and community event where the main street of the West End (Brisbane) is  blocked off for the afternoon and taken over by all things colourful, fun, family and related to bikes…and other environmentally-friendly people-powered mobility, such as skateboards, scooters, roller-skates, trolleys, prams and everything in between!

The Derby is hosted by West End Community Association and is open to the general public and showcases the best that the West End has to offer in terms of business, community and lifestyle.

I have not previously been to the Derby before and this year it came highly recommended. Boy and I glad I went.

I had a brilliant time.

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

What happened at Kurilpa Derby?

The event is a much loved, anticipated and popular event.

It was a stunning, sunny day – and there was a great turn out.

Leki was at her floral best and I went as a jokey to pay homage to the ‘derby’ theme and also for the upcoming Melbourne Cup.

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

The day started with the Kurilpa Derby Street Parade.

Leki and I joined in the street parade along with all the other participants floats, families and locals.

The Parade was colourful and noisy and a lot of fun. We were surrounded by colour and energy and lots of locals, families and community groups participated.

The effort and thought that people had put into decorating whatever parade mode they had and their costuming was impressive.

There was so much to see in the parade, like the Brazilian dancing girls, a ‘public pool’ (float), beautifully decorated rickshaws, couches on wheels, unicycles, a tall bike, lots of environmentally-themed mobile displays and a number of killer drumming troupes who keep the parade bopping along.

An amazing oversized water rat ended up winning the float first prized prize.

My personal parade favourite was the beekeeping team-theme float. This was an understand, but well executed exhibit that had  a spunky lady dressed as a bee inside a box decorated as the ‘hive’ as their float. This hive float was pulled by two fully equipped bee keepers (in full bee keeping suits including smoke cans). This crew handed out ices-poles anyone who wanted them the whole time – brilliant!

After the Parade,  the road remained closed and there were a  range of activities,  demos, novelty races and entertainment, such as a Pet Parade, a cocktail race, skateboard demonstration and heaps of other novelty races.

It was brilliant to see so many visitors and families out and about. Kids were roaring up and down the street in between races enjoying the freedom, safety and fun of having an allocated street to roam free and go wild.

It was such a delight to see the community – all locals and visitors alike – come together in such a celebratory and inclusive way.

As the sun went down the festivities continued. The bars, shops, cafes and restaurants did a roaring business and were keep buys all day and night.

Many people stayed on after to attend the Kurilpa Beggars’ Banquet, which is a brilliant community potluck dinner extravaganza.

If you have never been to the Kurilpa Derby before, be sure to put it on the calendar for next year. It is well worth it!

Below are a few pics from the day. See more photos at local Greta Pavlova’s Album.

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.comKurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com


Images my own, from Kurilpa Derby FB, @imogenbunting & @brisvagueness. Montage from The West End Magazine.

Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress

This time last week, the Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress (APCC) was being held in Christchurch, NZ from Tuesday 17th Oct – Friday 20th Oct.

I wasn’t able to go as I had my PhD Confirmation paper and seminar due smack in the middle – doh! Otherwise, I would have been there for sure and I had a session to present. It will just have to wait until next year!

What was on at the Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress?

The program for this year looked jammed packed full of interesting sessions. Check out the program link below and see what session takes your fancy.

Get the APCC Program and daily schedule here.Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

The link above also gives the daily schedule and a number of the speakers provided their presentations for public distribution.

All sessions were divided into these key themes:

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

I like that there was also a bit of personality coming through – as evidence,  I was delighted to see Jo Clendon’s poster abstract had a footnote for the term ‘bike user’ as being:

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

The APCC event is a great forum to share ideas and get inspired. I would have like to have seen more Asia-Pacific-ness in the mix (very Oceania focused). As far as I could see there were no sessions from East Asia, South Asia or Southeast Asia – and there are some amazing projects going on there!

I hope to see more recognition for countries that are not usually considered to be ‘cycling’ countries to be better represented, included and instrumental in biking discourse and practice. I’d like to see more initiatives from India, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the like. I know it is far to travel to NZ from these countries, but I’d really dig seeing some more diversity and range of contexts and ‘life world’ experiences in this conference’s program (in fact in all ALL conference programs!).

Who was presenting?

As you would expect, there were HEAPS of NZ presenters covering a massive array of planning, economic, behavioural, community, research and other projects – impressive!

As I have said before, NZ is by far whooping AUS arse on so many fronts (least of all NBN, Politics, Supporting Outdoor Industries to name a few). However, NZ’s progressive, strategic and forward-thinking development and integration of cycling an biking nationwide are envious. I go to Rotorua every year to ride and have posted before on a number of fun and admirable aspects of how riding and bike feature prominently in NZ.

I’ve also said before how easy, convent, and enjoyable it is being a cycling tourist in NZ. I’ve posted on how easy it is to get around in Rotorua, and some of their great community projects like the Dad’s n Lads bike events, as well as the formidable urban strategic plans within the major cities ( like Rotorua) that make biking a normalised way of getting around town – as well as being part of the larger picture to connect the whole country from top to bottom by bike paths – awesome! So NZ is by far a cycling leader on many fronts – and AUS would do well to learn from their NZ counterparts.

 

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

I was happy to see Brisbane represented:

  • Mark Pattemore’s (Brisbane City Council) Better bikeways for Brisbane.
  • Sarah Wilkinson (QLD Government) Cost-Benefit analysis of recent major cycling investments across QLD.
  • Narelle Haworth (QLD), Kristin Heesch (QLD) & Ashim Kumar Debath (VIC) Individual & Environmental Correlates of motorists passing distance of bicycle riders

As well as other Aussie presenters:

  • Cameron Munro (CDM Research, Melb) Designing for Bike Riders on local road roundabouts
  • Peter Metcalf (Wagners, Aust) Cycling the Hawkes Bay NZ region in safety with the aid of a clip on cycleway

And some OS delegates:

  • Tom Ransom (Isle of Wight, UK) School travel behaviour change
  • Thomas Stokell (USA) Bike Data Analysis – a comparison between 21,000 NZ riders and 180,000 riders from around the world
  • Jurgen Gerlach (Germany) with Axel Wilke (NZ) & Alistair Woodward (NZ) Safe…. but only if it’s efficient
  • Tyler Golly  (Canada) & Ryan Martinson (Canada) How to achieve rapid change for cycling outcomes

There were so many great NZ sessions that it would be too much to include here – suffice to say, it is well worth checking out the program link above in bold to see which session is most interesting for you.

October is the month for it!

The APCC is run in conjunction with Biketober, Christchurch’s month long celebration of all things bikes. Seems like October is the month for such events if Bike Palooza (Bendigo, VIC) and Biketober (Christchurch, NZ) is anything to go by!

Here is some of what is on for Christchurch’s Biketober.

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com